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So I thought I would tackle this one. To be upfront I will “vote” yes in the survey, but I’m about to make a pretty compelling argument for the “No” case. And one that frankly isn’t being made but is by far their most legitimate argument that is free from secondary concerns like the bullying tactics of the far-left advocates. Let me also say that I think it’s a mistake for the “Yes” side to assume that Marriage is an intrinsic right that “of course” gays should be entitled to… it is in fact not that at all, it’s a made up human institution. And if we figure out why it has value as an institution we can also figure out why there is actually a pretty good reason to be opposed to same-sex marriage.

So let me start by asking this: why not just de-legislate marriage altogether? Then everyone can simply register and dissolve legal civil unions whenever they wish, but Marriage will become a completely civil institution held up by whatever organised groups wish to do so, free from government interference. After all marriage began as a non-legislated social institution.

Why we don’t do that is because it is harder to dissolve a marriage than a civil union. Marriage encourages people to stick together through thick and thin rather than dissolve their relationships at any moment. Now at first this may not seem important, but it is. Break-ups of long-term relationships are difficult, expensive, and messy. Often harmful to children. Although sometimes they are necessary, often they are not. So the real purpose of Marriage for government is to encourage married couples to stay together. It’s good for the economy, keeps people out of courts, no need for messy child support payments or court-determined split custody arrangements.

We would still have all this if marriage is a civil institution. However, as a civil institution people’s rights were foregone in favour of religiously flavoured ideologies. The ancient Jews for example did not permit women to get divorces. The Christians did not recognise spousal abuse as a legitimate reason for a divorce. In the end it is the courts who are charged with upholding people’s rights, and they can’t enforce these rights on non-legislated institutions… so de-legislating marriage would end up putting these decisions back into the hands of organisations that have been shown not to upload people’s rights above ideology.

It’s difficult to see how same-sex marriage will strengthen the institution of Marriage. We have, about, a 50% divorce rate. Now true, a lot of those are after children are grown up, so the main costs to the courts are property disputes. But it is more in our interests to be concerned with ways to strengthen the institution, rather than ways to open it up to greater “flexibility”. The “Yes” side is calling the campaign “marriage equality” – but it’s not that. It doesn’t confer rights to polygamous relationships for example. And even though polygamy may not be compatible with social ideals, how is it fair in those relationships that the first wife has all the legal rights and subsequent “wives” have none? Tackling the inequality in people’s rights goes well beyond simply allowing same-sex couples to get married.

The social justice warriors (SJWs) have already begun their bullying tactics. Given how closely tied they are to the “Yes” campaign I do fear for how they will negatively impact upon this survey. The claim being made by the “Yes” side is that same sex couples need marriage for their relationships to have the same “validity” as heterosexual couples. Well many heterosexual couples choose not to marry – is the claim that their relationships have no legitimacy either? The stigma surrounding people who live out of wedlock should be addressed, but more importantly it shouldn’t be the case that marriage confers “legitimacy” that is not otherwise there. Rather, marriage is a seal that is harder to break than a de-facto relationship. Allowing same-sex marriage could in fact be detrimental to getting “equal rights” to those in de-facto relationships. I don’t mean equal rights in property disputes, but equal rights to be legal next of kin, legal parental rights in the event of a break-up, and legal treatment as a couple in hospital situations. In reality, it is very possible that SSM will set back people in de-facto relationships from being conferred the rights that they deserve.

I also have concerns that silent voters will not receive the opportunity to return a survey form. Despite the ABS claiming they will, I have seen no evidence that they have a plan in place to get survey forms to voters with no fixed address or are homeless. They only have a plan in place to send forms to silent voters who have an address they know that isn’t listed on the electoral roll.

And finally, of course, I think the whole idea of a postal survey is absurd. That’s not to say I disagree with holding a plebiscite – a plebiscite would have been perfectly acceptable. Other countries hold them all the time – the UK held one for Brexit for example. But I don’t think a non-compulsory survey will have any legitimacy unless it gets an 80%+ response rate, which I very much doubt it will. If there’s a response rate any lower than that, no matter which side is the victor I would say it has no legitimacy. But that’s me, and I’m not a parliamentarian, so if you want the parliament to listen to your side you have to get out there and return a “Yes” or a “No” response to the survey question – which response is up to you, but base it on what you believe is fair, and whether you think same-sex couples should be included in marriage or not.

You may be wondering why I think marriage should include same-sex couples – well I actually don’t. I think it should include whomever society feels it should, and my vote would be for inclusion, so I will respond “Yes” to the ABS survey. Marriage in all of its various forms around the world all grew out of social norms as a social institution reflective of the values and beliefs of those societies. So if there was a plebiscite (a compulsory attendance plebiscite, not a postal vote) and the result was for “No” I would personally be fine with that. I think it should change to include same-sex couples when society wants it to. But in the meantime, no matter what the outcome, there are real issues to do with discrimination and the rights of partners that are not yet equal to the rights of marriage, and I think it’s really important to address those rights first and foremost. And to strengthen the institution of marriage, whilst also making sure we cater for the vulnerable in society (domestic violence victims, etc). Our present laws are out of date, archaic, reflective of past beliefs not based on evidence, and do not favour those who are in an “at-fault” situation. People currently abuse the system we have at the moment, and our divorce laws (in particular the at-fault ones) need a complete overhaul from the ground-up to fix it.

 

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